Blotchy is Beautiful
Last week I put on my not-exactly-workout gear and headed to Pro Gym in Oswego to engage in a CX Worx core training class with my amazing friend Beth Kolar. And then because I’m brave (or crazy) I stayed for a Body Combat class with the very intense but thankfully also kind Nate Rousseau.
This is kind of a big deal for two reasons:
1. I didn’t die. (I did briefly wonder if I would end up like that Biggest Loser contestant throwing up in the corner garbage can, but thankfully that didn’t happen, either.)
2. I showed up in the first place.
You may not think the second one is as impressive as the first, but you’re wrong. I don’t-die every day (so far), but I haven’t attempted any kind of group fitness experience since high school gym. I am an elliptical and weights girl, mostly. When I’m feeling brave, I might run on the elliptical or lift weights next to another person. I do yoga in my living room with a beginners DVD. But I’ve never braved a class with other “fitness enthusiasts” (a term which no one anywhere has ever applied to me).
Even contemplating a group fitness classes is a bit daunting for me. I know going in that I’ll probably be the least fit in the class, and when you add into the mix the fact that I will be fumbling through a routine I’ve never done before, my fear of looking foolish kicks in. I’m an extremely extroverted person who generally likes anything more if you add some people to it, but the two punch combo of looking fat and foolish has been a deal killer for me.
Just to give you an idea of how deep-seated this fear is, I’ll share this story: Many years ago I attended a party where people were playing DDRMax (a dancing video game where you have to dance on a floor pad of arrows to “win”), and I really wanted to try it. Even though nobody really knew how to play and everyone was messing up and giggling, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Instead, I purchased the whole system and became an expert alone in my living room before I went to the next party. (And then I surprised the hell out of some people. Which was actually pretty awesome.)
My point is that this was a HUGE step for me.
Earlier this year, I chose the word “dance” for my #OneWord365.
Here’s the thing about me. I love to dance, but most of the time I don’t because I am just too afraid of what people will think and how I might look–primarily either fat or awkward.
This confession is both literal and figurative. It applies to actual dancing, and it applies to just about anything else I shy away from doing. You’d be amazed how much my perception of my weight factors in whether or not I attempt things that are not physical–things like writing, speaking, training, standing up for myself, even just introducing myself to people. Don’t misunderstand, I do all of these things, but I wrestle against fear and unworthiness before I do any of them. Over the past five years, I have conquered the fear more and more consistently, but the truth is it is far from gone.
Since I chose (or maybe admitted) my word for this year, God has been whispering “Dance anyway” to me. It is constant background music. I catch it playing in my mind like the one verse of a song that you just can’t stop singing. And it’s taking root. It has it’s own hashtag skit.
And that’s how I ended up blurting out to my friend Beth (a personal trainer who has regaled me with stories of crawling to the bathroom after being so wrecked by an aggressive workout) that we should work out together once before I move to Texas. I was thinking one on one personal trainer stuff, but it became clear as we worked out the details that we were talking about a class. What in the hell did I just agree to?!! Come for my class, she said. And then just stay for Body Combat. It’ll be fun.
I thought about cancelling, but then there was God, whispering #DanceAnyway like a holy Justin Timberlake.
So I got in my car, drove 1.5 hours in traffic and walked in, awkwardly and late to her core class. It was, for a few minutes, the stuff of my nightmares. But then it was actually pretty awesome. In a painful, dear-God kind of way, but still. Somehow I managed to complete both classes, and somehow I managed to be my full self. My full blotchy self.
I had fun. The tiny fitness enthusiasts were actually really nice. And I daresay I was surprised by how well I kept up. And you know what? I would do it again.
Fear: conquered. Another one down, thousands to go, but I’m dancing anyway.
How about you? Do you need to get off the sidelines today? If so, I hope my adventure lends you some courage